In addition to his role as executive chef, he’s also head beekeeper for the property. On top of the hotel is his apiary of around
50 hives (the hotel uses the honey in many of its offerings).
The party starts with Stephenson taking groups up to see
the bees, smell the frame of honey coming out of the hive (
Na-sonov pheromone from worker bees has a faint lemony scent)
and even stick a ;inger in 95-degree (hive temperature) fresh
honey. As honey treats circulate the room, part of the honeycomb will be brought down for groups to watch it being extracted as Stephenson speaks about the importance of bee sus-tainability for our food supply and colony collapse disorder. For
people who had only previously been aware that honey came
in a bear jar, Stephenson sees the delight that warm, fresh honey drizzled onto foods evokes in participants.
“Once you’ve done that, you can really check it off the bucket list of what honey’s supposed to taste like,” he says.
There is also a sea-to-table experience for groups of up to
50, involving ;lying in a ;loat plane from Seattle to Rawle Jef-ferds’ Penn Cove Shell;ish mussel farm, which houses around
50 percent of the state’s oysters.
“People are just blown away,” he says. “They can look in the
water and see all the plankton and sea life. We’ll pull the oysters
out of the water, open them and eat them right there. Rawle
will often microwave mussels on the boat for people to taste—
they are amazing. People walk away laughing and educated.”
Live Life, Love Food
Chef Ben Jones (his ;irst word was “ham” due to his grandmother’s cooking) of The Resort at Paws Up in Montana sees
the story behind the food as an essential desire of increasingly
food-sophisticated groups for interactive F&B events. The relationships he has cultivated with local purveyors—such as
mushroom foragers, Montrail Bison and Sweet Grass Hutterite
Colony—also become part of the story that groups are eager to
learn from and utilize to form bonds.
“I’m trying to create the ability to help people think about
what they’re eating, where they’re eating it, who they’re eat-
ing it with and how that’s going to stay with them for the rest
of their life,” Jones says. “The overall experiential time here is
what I’m trying to achieve.”
One of Jones’ favorite culinary adventures is a chili cook-off
competition for up to 140 attendees in the spectacular setting
of Paws Up.
“If you offer them enough ingredients, you offer them
enough unique meats, presentations, if you give them enough
stuff to make it as crazy as they can, they are going to make it
as fun as they can,” he says.
Jones also cites his and his team of chefs’ accessibility as key
for the success of this event, as well as Iron Chef-style competitions for up to 50 people, cooking demos and a full butchering demo with a short loin to make steak tartare from scratch.
He jokes that people participating in these types of interactive
F&B activities literally “eat it up” and the process changes the
dynamic of how people work together.
Stemming from this increased interest, The Resort at Paws
Up will be opening a culinary academy for several days a week
Liming In T&T
“Liming” is the art form of enjoying, relaxing and consuming
with people in Trinidad and Tobago. At the culinary academy
Fanatic Kitchen Studio in Trinidad, owner Donna Wyke-Reece
successfully pairs liming with team-building experiences of interactive cook-alongs with local celebrity chefs, exclusive chef’s
table dinners, wine-appreciation tastings and cocktail-style
culinary events (warning: scorpion peppers are HOT!) for up
to 50 people.
Wyke-Reece sees these activities as an incredible way to
help groups “sharpen their skills in areas such as communi-
cation, time management, teamwork, planning leadership and
Food is a medium through which participants gain a sense
of the diversity and the culture. The southernmost islands in
the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad and Tobago’s multicultural in;lu-
ences are re;lected in the offerings at Fanatic Kitchen.
Want a “Rum Kitchen” where everything contains rum
(white rum and mango-marinated chicken, served with pan-friend broccoli ;lorets and ;inished with a chili aioli and tamarind reduction)? Check. Prawn vindaloo and coconut basmati
rice? Yes, please.
Beautiful food combined with a dollop of liming fun creates
harmony on a plate, harmony in the group. ■
Groups get to experience a farm-to-table scene where the food from the
market ends up on their plates later that
night at a reception.